Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

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articulably suspect
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:00 am

It's interesting that this thread has a three year gap. I think if you write your ps about your experienes, what you've learned, how you've matured, and shape this into a "this is why I would be a good addition to your school" statement, I don't think your past will become a problem. You've been through the systema nd have seen firsthand and have seen how the system works and doesn't work, both from your unique perspective and through witnessing how others have fared in the justice system. The funny thing about the admissions process is that, depending on what is/how long it's been, your lowest and most embarassing times in your life can turn out to be an adcomms favorite PS.

Maybe talk about how Prop. 36 and those that have helped you through this court mandated program have helped you clean up your act. Does this make you want to help others who are dealing with substance abuse problems, become an advocate for alternatives to/expansions to the current drug court system, etc?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:20 am

Kohinoor wrote:Mentioning him is an excellent way to derail a thread. I'll let you go with a warning this time.


My mention was on-topic and relevant in my opinion. However, "warning" people is a great way to derail a thread, when you're not even a mod. Don't go "warning" people unless you have good cause and power to back it up, and in this case you apparently have neither.

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playhero
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby playhero » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:19 am

With those numbers, no way. I'd like to see you pass admission to the bar with that history though.

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tommytahoe
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby tommytahoe » Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:46 pm

yeah, i hijacked this thread from some OP from 2006 or something. I am also probably the 3,000th applicant to ask the disclosure question...
thanks for the advice, ejjones. I was thinking along those lines re: immigration rights and due process stuff, how it has awakened sympathies, etc, but your ideas on Prop. 36 and crim. justice system in general are very helpful too.

t.

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tommytahoe
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby tommytahoe » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:09 pm

Romney2012 wrote:I'd like to see you pass admission to the bar with that history though.


Well, yes, that is an unknown. We'll see how the bar reacts to the several years of continuous reform, academic achievement, and letters of recommendation. I'll take my chances.

Obama2012

articulably suspect
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:20 pm

Just contact the bar and ask. I think you can do that. I can see a Romney supporter finding your history to be Gottiesque.

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lawlover829
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby lawlover829 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:30 pm

ejjones wrote:Just contact the bar and ask. I think you can do that. I can see a Romney supporter finding your history to be Gottiesque.

+1

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tommytahoe
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby tommytahoe » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:29 pm

What does "+1" mean?

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vanwinkle
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:39 pm

tommytahoe wrote:What does "+1" mean?


Basically it means someone agrees with the quoted poster and thinks said quote deserves upranking or additional merit. It's like saying "I vote for what this guy said," but in much shorter form.

articulably suspect
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:09 pm

I don't think you need to include the kid on the skateboard thing. Man you were a jerk. Kidding. You don't need to put thing on there that aren't part of you criminal record or a lot of us would be fucked.

In your addendum, I don't think you need to make a list and fire off a story about each one. Best bet would be to write about your experiences growing up in proverty, having no supervision, the resulting deliquncy and how this has all led you to the decision to apply to ls. Maybe talk about how you want to use your JD to help other at risk youth or juveniles in the system, or something like that. Schools eat stories like this up.

Like I said previously, some of our lowest times and most criminal pasts are sometimes gold when it comes to the admissions process.

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JDO
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby JDO » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:16 pm

In the applications that tell you to disclose all misdemeanors regardless of age, even if your record is sealed, my addendum can easily hit four pages.

My charges are as follows:

1) Minor in possession of alcohol (15 years old)
2) Charged with robbery, amended to Felony grand theft person (15 years old)
3) Misdemeanor vehicle theft (15 years old)
4) I went to juvenile hall when I was 17 for violation of probation, just before getting an acceptance level to the University of California. In juvenile hall I was charged with fighting in public (additional charge)
5) Minor in possession of alcohol when I was 20 years old

I am now 24 years old and I have not been charged with any other crimes. When I tell the details of these incidents do I need to include all info including the initial charge and how it was amended. Also, for the felony grand theft person, I pushed a kid off his skateboard, rode off, and the skateboard was confiscated the next day. I had been involved with a previous fight with the kid, should I include the history with him?

I am unsure how to format the addendum. Should I write out a numbered list and place the details under each incident? Should I offer an explanation for each incident or just place one overall explanation indicating my circumstances? From my understanding, the addendum should be short and concise, but I am inching onto the fourth page (double spaced)

A big part of the explanation is that I lived in poverty without supervision, and I was very street oriented. I left my mother's home after I turned 16, but was caught for violating probation (curfew, I admitted I had a beer at a party to my probation officer, and I got into a fight at school). Are my violations of probation charges that I need to include in my addendum? This would make it even longer.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to helpful responses

-JD

ejjones wrote:I don't think you need to include the kid on the skateboard thing. Man you were a jerk. Kidding. You don't need to put thing on there that aren't part of you criminal record or a lot of us would be fucked.

In your addendum, I don't think you need to make a list and fire off a story about each one. Best bet would be to write about your experiences growing up in proverty, having no supervision, the resulting deliquncy and how this has all led you to the decision to apply to ls. Maybe talk about how you want to use your JD to help other at risk youth or juveniles in the system, or something like that. Schools eat stories like this up.

Like I said previously, some of our lowest times and most criminal pasts are sometimes gold when it comes to the admissions process.

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JDO
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby JDO » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:37 pm

Thanks EJ,

The Felony Grand Theft was when I stole the kids skateboard. I was charged and found guilty of a felony for the skateboard and a misdemeanor for the car. When I explain this should I just give an overall explanation for the car, the skateboard, and the alcohol charges or explain each offense individually?

What is the purpose of the explanation? Do they need to know exactly how things happened or are they just trying to find more about what the charge is? For example, stating a felony grand theft does not say much about what happened but minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage is fairly explanatory. I would like to tell them as little information as possible- I stole a skateboard from a kid vs. I ran across the street pushed him off his skateboard and rode away (what the report says).

Concerning the minor in possession, do they want me to just repeat that I got caught as a passenger in a car with an open beverage or do they want me to start at where I went wrong- I went with my sister's friend to get alcohol, he opened two beers for the both of us, we stopped in the middle of the street to talk to someone, the cops pulled us over and spotted the two beverages, asked me for an id, and found that I was underage. I was released to my aunt because my mother was not around, cited for (violation), charged with (violation), and the charge was later dropped (dismissed with Harvey waiver).

How much detail should this be? Did you also write an addendum similar to this or have you seen examples?

Thanks again,

-JD

articulably suspect
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby articulably suspect » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:45 pm

Let me get back to you on that. I'm not extremely knowledgeable on this issue, but I think I can shed some light on this for you. I've got to eat now though.

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JDO
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby JDO » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:51 pm

ejjones wrote:I don't think you need to include the kid on the skateboard thing. Man you were a jerk. Kidding. You don't need to put thing on there that aren't part of you criminal record or a lot of us would be fucked.

In your addendum, I don't think you need to make a list and fire off a story about each one. Best bet would be to write about your experiences growing up in proverty, having no supervision, the resulting deliquncy and how this has all led you to the decision to apply to ls. Maybe talk about how you want to use your JD to help other at risk youth or juveniles in the system, or something like that. Schools eat stories like this up.

Like I said previously, some of our lowest times and most criminal pasts are sometimes gold when it comes to the admissions process.


Many schools ask for the date, location, violation, and an explanation for each offense. What concerns me most is the explanation: how much detail? I understand that I should not make a story about each one, so should I just state what happened:

On (date) I was cited for (violation) by the (City) police department. I was caught (restate the violation more specifically).
On (date) ...
On (date) ...

Then at the end of the addendum just explain how these offenses have helped construct a strong moral character. And explain the circumstances

(okay. thanks have a good dinner)

JDewey
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby JDewey » Wed Jul 22, 2009 10:54 pm

Just thought it would be relevant to throw in that about 7 in 1000 applicants are denied admission to the bar based on character and fitness issues. This number includes those individuals that were told to come back and try again later after some sort of rehabilitation effort. So it's very rare for someone to never be admitted on Character and Fitness grounds.

Furthermore, from what I've read, it is even rarer for denials to be handed down for youthful indiscretions that took place prior to law school and one's decision to practice law. There have been a few particularly bad cases (e.g. a cop that took place in a highly publicized murder cover up tried to be a lawyer, and EVEN he was told that this was not an offense that would permanently prevent an individual from being admitted to practice...i think his denial was a political move cuz this cover up was still fresh in the publics minds) that are evidence of a willingness to deny someone based on issues that occurred prior to law school.

A lot of the other denials are for dishonesty when it comes to the application process and believe it or not there are quite a few that were the result of the applicants financial irresponsibility, like their failure to pay back debts and lack of willingness to work something out with their creditors.

Long story short, the stuff you guys are talking about isn't that big of a deal.

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JCougar
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby JCougar » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:14 am

It seems that I could have robbed a bank when I was 18, and now, 10 years later, I can still get into law school. But getting a few D's during undergrad -- that will never be forgiven. :D

Something's wrong with this picture. I want to have my UGPA forgiven.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby vanwinkle » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:30 am

JCougar wrote:It seems that I could have robbed a bank when I was 18, and now, 10 years later, I can still get into law school. But getting a few D's during undergrad -- that will never be forgiven. :D

Something's wrong with this picture. I want to have my UGPA forgiven.


With a decent LSAT score I'm sure Ave Maria would both forgive and admit you. :mrgreen:

Seriously, though--I got into a T14 with two F's. It's not impossible.

HokkaidoGyuNyu
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby HokkaidoGyuNyu » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:50 am

CuCane33 wrote:Have two minor infractions:

1) underage drinking, which i'll disclos

2) Public urination---should I disclose this even if it was just a small fine?


with global warming already killing our world, how could you do such a thing?
are you aware of the acidity level of urine and its effect on the environment?
I just cant believe things like this are happening.
Automatic-DENIAL - Justice served!

articulably suspect
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby articulably suspect » Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:46 am

True, all will be forgiven, seemingly, if you have a 3.8 and a 174. It's almost unfortunate that some who lived downtrodden lives didn't get caught, because they would be forced to explain them and let's face it, adcomms love them. If one were to describe in detail their seedy past, without the record, well, it simply is less believable.

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JCougar
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby JCougar » Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:16 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
JCougar wrote:It seems that I could have robbed a bank when I was 18, and now, 10 years later, I can still get into law school. But getting a few D's during undergrad -- that will never be forgiven. :D

Something's wrong with this picture. I want to have my UGPA forgiven.


With a decent LSAT score I'm sure Ave Maria would both forgive and admit you. :mrgreen:

Seriously, though--I got into a T14 with two F's. It's not impossible.


Actually, I have some F's too -- all of which I retook and got A's -- but they're still not forgiven. My already low GPA got hammered by LSAC. 2.95.

If I can get at least a 168, though, I think I'll be fine. I've been testing in the low 170s, and I still have two months to study. I have a history of getting 98th percentile or higher on exams like these. My life was just really in disarray during undergrad, and I completely blew off school. I'll bet I didn't go to more than 50% of my classes the whole time I was there. It was stupid, though, and I deserve what I got. Now it's catching up with me because my current career is simply not challenging enough.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:18 pm

JCougar wrote:If I can get at least a 168, though, I think I'll be fine. I've been testing in the low 170s, and I still have two months to study. I have a history of getting 98th percentile or higher on exams like these. My life was just really in disarray during undergrad, and I completely blew off school. I'll bet I didn't go to more than 50% of my classes the whole time I was there. It was stupid, though, and I deserve what I got. Now it's catching up with me because my current career is simply not challenging enough.


This isn't too far away from where I ended up or am now. However, I'm quitting my job and starting school at UVA next month, so it is certainly possible. A 170+ will open many doors for you even with that GPA, and might even get you into the lower T14. Keep preparing and studying, and have faith.

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JCougar
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby JCougar » Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:30 pm

vanwinkle wrote:This isn't too far away from where I ended up or am now. However, I'm quitting my job and starting school at UVA next month, so it is certainly possible. A 170+ will open many doors for you even with that GPA, and might even get you into the lower T14. Keep preparing and studying, and have faith.


Wow. I just looked at your profile and you had a FAR better cycle than I ever thought I could get with a 170. Do you have incredible softs and/or WE? WUSTL and UIUC seem to completely ignore UGPA if you have an LSAT above their median, but I never thought that kind of scholarship was what they offered for a 170. And congrats on UVA.

bowie8285
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby bowie8285 » Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:17 pm

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Last edited by bowie8285 on Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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vanwinkle
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:38 pm

JCougar wrote:Wow. I just looked at your profile and you had a FAR better cycle than I ever thought I could get with a 170. Do you have incredible softs and/or WE? WUSTL and UIUC seem to completely ignore UGPA if you have an LSAT above their median, but I never thought that kind of scholarship was what they offered for a 170. And congrats on UVA.


I have great softs (I was able to spin my UG struggles into an "overcoming adversity" PS) and five years' WE in a high-pressure high-responsibility job, where I got a VP of a prominent government entity to write me a LOR. My father was also an immigrant, and while I apparently don't qualify for URM status I still got a diversity statement in. So, don't expect your cycle to be like mine, because nobody else's cycle is like mine.

And no one else's will be exactly like yours either, so it's hard to predict what offers you will get. But I think you could end up surprised at how well you can do if you try. I was surprised repeatedly by my cycle as I got offers from better and better schools, and I realize now how much that LSAT score really could make a difference.

A convincing LSAT score can get you into a number of tier-1 schools, and even possibly into the lower T14, even with a sub-3.0 GPA. Your biggest challenge is convincing schools that 1) you have accomplished things since then to prove your responsibility, such as WE, and 2) you have a unique perspective to offer the school. The better you can do those things the better off you'll be. And yes, some schools are such LSAT whores that they'll throw money at anyone with an above-75th score for their school and see who bites.

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JCougar
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Re: Does me disclosing criminal offenses kill my application?

Postby JCougar » Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:26 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
JCougar wrote:Wow. I just looked at your profile and you had a FAR better cycle than I ever thought I could get with a 170. Do you have incredible softs and/or WE? WUSTL and UIUC seem to completely ignore UGPA if you have an LSAT above their median, but I never thought that kind of scholarship was what they offered for a 170. And congrats on UVA.


I have great softs (I was able to spin my UG struggles into an "overcoming adversity" PS) and five years' WE in a high-pressure high-responsibility job, where I got a VP of a prominent government entity to write me a LOR. My father was also an immigrant, and while I apparently don't qualify for URM status I still got a diversity statement in. So, don't expect your cycle to be like mine, because nobody else's cycle is like mine.

And no one else's will be exactly like yours either, so it's hard to predict what offers you will get. But I think you could end up surprised at how well you can do if you try. I was surprised repeatedly by my cycle as I got offers from better and better schools, and I realize now how much that LSAT score really could make a difference.

A convincing LSAT score can get you into a number of tier-1 schools, and even possibly into the lower T14, even with a sub-3.0 GPA. Your biggest challenge is convincing schools that 1) you have accomplished things since then to prove your responsibility, such as WE, and 2) you have a unique perspective to offer the school. The better you can do those things the better off you'll be. And yes, some schools are such LSAT whores that they'll throw money at anyone with an above-75th score for their school and see who bites.


I've got a MS and 3 years WE between two Fortune 100 companies in between undergrad and now. I was also elected Treasurer of the county Democratic Executive Committee last year. I know it's nothing extraordinary, but I'm hoping that it shows leadership/dedication, and that my UGPA is a poor descriptor of my attitude towards life today. But yeah, the best way to convince them would be to score 170+ on the LSAT.




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